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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

NHL experts take shots at picking winner

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NEW YORK -- Here's what media types from around the NHL are predicting for this year's Stanley Cup:

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New Jersey in seven: Jersey's skill up front was able to penetrate the Rangers' defensive wall in the East final and they'll do the same against the Kings. Martin Brodeur will cement his place among the greats and Ilya Kovalchuk will grab the Conn Smythe.

Ed Tait, Free Press hockey writer

New Jersey in six: It's time to stop underestimating the Devils. Not only does Pete DeBoer's team have experience and skill on its side, it also has depth players providing big contributions.

Chris Johnston, The Canadian Press hockey writer

Kings in six: West is best. L.A. has too much depth at centre. Nobody has had any answer for Kopitar-Richards-Stoll down the middle.

Pierre LeBrun, ESPN.com hockey writer

Kings in six: Unless the layoff undermines them as it did Ottawa in 2007, the Kings are firing on all cylinders, have better defence and depth, and goaltending is no worse than a wash, even given Martin Brodeur's pedigree. It'll be a tough grind for two teams that had no clue two months ago that they'd be here, but a fun series, and it could go the distance.

Cam Cole, Vancouver Sun columnist

Kings in six: Martin Brodeur is a great story, chasing his fourth Stanley Cup at age 40. But Jonathan Quick has been the best goaltender in the league all season, and now that the Kings are giving him scoring support, they have gone on an incredible 12-2 run in these playoffs -- against first, second and third seeds. The Cup finally goes Hollywood.

Nicholas Cotsonika, Yahoo.com hockey writer

Kings in seven: The Kings are bigger and seem to have more offensive balance. With Doughty leading L.A.'s D, he controls the pace so well, the Devils' vaunted forecheck will have to find a way to offset the Kings' defensive poise.

Darren Dreger, TSN hockey analyst

Devils in seven: It's strength against strength between two hard-forechecking teams with excellent goaltenders and the capability to score short-handed goals, demonstrated by the Devils in the regular season and the Kings in the playoffs. I'm going with the team with the goalie whose rhythm hasn't been broken by long layoffs, and the team with the best player in the series, Ilya Kovalchuk.

Jesse Spector, The Sporting News, hockey writer

Kings in five: With Jonathan Quick playing his game and plenty of offensive punch, Los Angeles will continue to look like a buzzsaw and end the Devils' similarly improbable run.

Stephen Whyno, The Washington Times hockey writer

Devils in seven: Is there a better way for Marty Brodeur to celebrate turning 40 and Lou Lamoriello to honour his 25th season at the helm of the Devils?

Tim Wharnsby, cbcsports.ca senior writer

Kings in six: The Kings forecheck aggressively, their top players are scoring and Jonathan Quick is the best goalie in the NHL.

Kevin McGran, Toronto Star hockey writer

Devils in seven: Can't match the Kings' hype but they can match their depth. Four lines contributing would be huge in a long series.

Rob Longley, Toronto Sun hockey writer

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 30, 2012 D4

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